Quitting the Comparison Game

by Lesley on October 10, 2012 · 13 comments

in lessons learned

There are a LOT of things I love about blogging.

I love catching up with friends and family, meeting new friends from around the world, and hearing varying opinions about everything from vaccines to egalitarianism to make-up choices. It’s so fun to discover the latest trends in home design, hear why moms are choosing this stroller over that one, and learn what to say (or not to say) to adoptive parents.

But there is one thing I really don’t like about blogging. 

Because blogs provide a window into real people’s lives, readers might THINK they know a blogger better than they do. And as a result, we can start comparing our imperfect selves to other’s “perfect” homes/outfits/meals/writing/photography/child rearing skills/etc.

We see a beautiful photo of someone’s perfectly decorated living room and think, “It always looks like that, and mine never will, and how do they have enough money to do that?” or “Her five year old is already reading chapter books and my little guy can’t even recognize his name.” or “That couple always makes the most amazing homemade meals and I can’t even muster the energy for boxed mac and cheese.”

As Teddy Roosevelt says, and my friend Anna Q likes to quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

If you’ve ever fallen victim to comparing your life to another person, I hope this list from Nicole Unice will encourage you. It’s from her book She’s Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us

Tempted to compare?

  • When you think, I wish I were more like him/her, replace this thought with, I’m only seeing a small sliver of this person’s life. 
  • When you feel resentment towards another, pray, “Lord, give me eyes to see where I need to change my ways.”
  • When you wish for something you don’t have, fix you eyes on what you do have. Keep your eyes on your own bag.
  • Go with Romans 12:15: “Rejoice with those who rejoice.” Make the conscious choice to humble yourself and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a heart that is joyful in other’s joy.
  • Foster creativity. Make a consious effort to pursue activities you love. Paint pictures. Swing on the monkey bars. Take hip-hop. Ignore everyone else and create!
  • Take action: Write down two or three things that you feel grateful for in each area of potential comaprison.
  • Remember the landowner’s question, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15) Don’t disrespect God’s generosity to you by ignoring his gifts because they don’t seem to compare with those he has given to others.

Do you fall victim to the comparison game when you read blogs? How about in real life? What do you do when you catch yourself comparing? 

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12 comments
Carlien
Carlien

thanks for this reminder! i need to write this on a wall in my house: Remember the landowner’s question, “Are you envious because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15) Don’t disrespect God’s generosity to you by ignoring his gifts because they don’t seem to compare with those he has given to others.

Randi
Randi

What great timing for this post, Lesley! As I delve more and more into the blogging world, I am finding it hard not to compare. (I recently battled some serious home-decor envy!) Great reminder that we're only seeing a sliver of reality through our computer screen.

Amy
Amy

It's so easy to compare, and I love the TR quote. It's so true. Also worth noting, in my opinion, is how hurtful it is to find out that someone has been comparing themselves to you. Possibly judging, and either putting themselves down or harboring jealousy. All around, comparison is hurtful.

Tim
Tim

Great TR quote, Lesley, and as they say over at the Republic of Pemberley: "Comparisons are odious."

Lesley
Lesley

I'm so glad this list resonates with you all. Make sure to check out Nicole's site and book for more great info. I take no credit for the list--it's all hers!

Allison Moore
Allison Moore

I love your list Lesley! It's hard not to compare especially with blog ands social media, but next time I'll think of your "tempted to compare" list. LOVE IT!

Claire Baganz Bone
Claire Baganz Bone

It's so hard not to compare. I have mostly given it up, but it sneaks in once in awhile! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this list! I also love you for helping us all see the bigger picture. You are awesome.

Jennifer
Jennifer

This is such a wonderful post! Comparison really is the thief of joy...it can breed such terrible feelings. I tend jump feet-first into #5: Foster Creativity. Once I start focusing on ways to bring myself joy, I find it much easier to genuinely celebrate the joy of others. People share the happy things because it makes them feel good. It makes them...well...happy. If we can all learn to be happy for each other and share in that joy, I think we'll be doing alright.

San
San

So, so true. I sometimes have to remind myself that other people's lives are just as messy as mine ;)

Elizabeth Anne May
Elizabeth Anne May

Thanks for this post. I do this all the time! I should print out your list of tips and tape it to my mirror. So many of these points really resonate with me.

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